Original Research

New taxa of Hesperantha (Iridaceae: Crocoideae) from the southern African winter rainfall region and a review of the H. pilosa complex

P. Goldblatt, J. C. Manning
Bothalia | Vol 43, No 2 | a91 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/abc.v43i2.91 | © 2013 P. Goldblatt, J. C. Manning | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 January 2013 | Published: 13 January 2013

About the author(s)

P. Goldblatt, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, Missouri, United States
J. C. Manning, Research Centre for Plant Growth and Development, School of Life Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

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Abstract

The southern and tropical Africa genus Hesperantha Ker Gawl., now with 85 species, is distinguished in subfam. Crocoideae by the style dividing into relatively long, usually laxly spreading style branches at or shortly below the mouth of the perianth tube (rarely well within the tube or above the mouth of the tube) and, with a few exceptions, by hard, woody corm tunics. We describe three new species here. H. dolomitica Goldblatt & J.C.Manning, a narrow endemic of limestone outcrops on slopes north of the Vars River in the Knersvlakte, Western Cape, has the bell-shaped corms characteristic of the small sect. Hesperantha but is distinctive in the section in its pure white perianth with relatively long tube and soft-textured, falcate to distally trailing leaves. H. laxifolia Goldblatt & J.C.Manning from the Pakhuis Mtns, Western Cape, stands out in sect. Hesperantha in its prostate, somewhat succulent foliage leaves, and spikes of 2–5 white flowers with unusually short filaments less than 1 mm long and particularly short anthers, ± 4 mm long. The short style branches, ± 4 mm long, remain suberect rather than laxly spreading. H. secunda Goldblatt & J.C.Manning from the Roggeveld Escarpment, Northern Cape, has until now been included in H. pilosa but differs in its secund spike of nodding flowers with short style branches, and leaves with broadly winged margins. We also recognize a new subsp. bracteolata (R.C.Foster) Goldblatt & J.C.Manning of H. pilosa (L.f.) Ker Gawl. for populations of plants with diurnal flowers with usually blue or purple (occasionally white) tepals lacking dark pigmentation on the reverse. With additional material to hand, we reduce blue-flowered H. ciliolata Goldblatt to synonymy in subsp. bracteolata and report range extensions for H. pilosa subsp. pilosa, now recorded as far east as the Langeberg near Cloete’s Pass.

Keywords

Iridaceae; Hesperantha; New Species; Southern Africa; Taxonomy; Winter Rainfall Zone

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